WEST PALM BEACH - Rush Limbaugh attacked prosecutors who are investigating whether he illegally purchased prescription painkillers in full-page ads in two South Florida newspapers on Thursday.
In the ads, the radio commentator renewed his accusations that the criminal investigation was politically motivated, and he accused one of the newspapers, the Palm Beach Post, of trying to discredit him to justify the investigation. The ads include a reprint of a favorable 600-word editorial from Sunday's edition of the Washington Times.
Limbaugh, who has not been charged with any crime, told his listeners Thursday he bought the ads because "we just can't get our story out in the editorial pages of the Palm Beach Post." The other ad appeared in the South Florida Sun-Sentinel published in Fort Lauderdale.
Post editor Edward Sears said Limbaugh has never responded personally to his reporters' requests for comment. The paper has received comments from Limbaugh's representatives and his attorney.
"The Post has accurately and responsibly reported on both Mr. Limbaugh's admitted prescription drug abuse and the conflict between his lawyers and the State Attorney's Office," Sears said. "If he wants to get his story out, he's welcome to return our calls and talk to us."
State Attorney Barry Krischer, a Democrat, declined to comment on the ads. He previously denied that Limbaugh is being investigated for political reasons.
The criminal investigation is on hold pending a decision by the 4th District Court of Appeal on whether prosecutors may examine Limbaugh's medical records. Investigators seized the documents last fall but they were sealed after Limbaugh's attorneys argued the seizure violated his privacy rights.
Prosecutors argue that they need the records to determine whether Limbaugh illegally "doctor shopped" - visited several doctors to obtain multiple prescriptions for pain pills.
Limbaugh, who has repeatedly declined to comment outside of his radio show, called the investigation "excessive" and also took aim Thursday at the Post for a Sunday opinion piece.
The column said Limbaugh "excused the inexcusable" when discussing the photos of Iraqi prisoners being abused at the Abu Ghraib prison.
"This is no different than what happens at the Skull and Bones initiation," the column quoted Limbaugh as saying in a May 4 broadcast. "I'm talking about people having a good time. These people, you ever heard of emotional release? You heard of need to blow some steam off?"
Limbaugh said the comments were taken out of context.
Limbaugh admitted an addiction to prescription painkillers in October, saying it stemmed from severe back pain. He took a five-week leave from his radio show to enter a rehabilitation program. By then, prosecutors had already begun their criminal investigation after Limbaugh's former maid told them she supplied him with large quantities of pills for years.[Last modified May 14, 2004, 01:00:14]